What A Flight Attendant Can Teach Us About Creating Certainty in An Uncertain World

Recently, on a cross-country flight from New York to California, the flight attendant announced: “We’re heading into a thunderstorm so the seatbelt sign will be on for the next 45 minutes. Feel free to get up and use the bathroom if necessary but keep in mind that we will remind you to return to your seats as quickly as possible.” As a student of neuroscience, I was impressed by the attendant’s understanding of the fight-or-flight threat response. Because typically, what […]

What To Do When You Don’t Know (And Why It’s Not As Scary As You Think)

Remember the story I shared a few weeks ago, about the old lady who came into the bank with $600,000 she had been hoarding in her mattress — and how we should be comfortable with “not knowing,” to make room for the unexpected to show up in our lives? Except, I realized later, it’s not that easy. From the time we start school around the age of five, we learn very quickly that there’s only one right answer — 2 + 2 = […]

Taking the “Ert” out of Uncertainty

A year or so ago, I was psyched when the Metropolitan Transit Authority installed electronic time clocks on New York subway platforms – just knowing that the next train wouldn’t arrive for another 11 minutes took away the angst of waiting and gave me the illusion of certainty in an increasingly uncertain world. The thing is, even though we’re better off learning to embrace rather than resist uncertainty, there’s a bit of hurdle: our brains are wired to want certainty. […]

The Power of Boring: Why Discipline and Consistency Trump the Adrenaline Rush

A TALE OF TWO ADVENTURERS In October 1911, two teams of adventurers were heading separate expeditions toward the South Pole – one led by Roald Amundsen from Norway and the other by Robert Falcon Scott of England. Amundsen adhered to a regimen of consistent progress, traveling 15 – 20 miles per day, resisting the temptation to go farther in good weather, in order to avoid reaching a point of exhaustion that could leave his team exposed, and pressing ahead even […]